Spend enough time in arenas, hell at any kind of ice rink, and you learn where to go, how to fit yourself against the wall so that no one can see you unless they know where to look and, sometimes, not even then. Sidney's pretty good at finding those places. It's kind of his thing.
At the new place, there's this spot right near the away team's equipment room, where the supporting wall juts out into a side maintenance corridor. The security cameras don't pan that far to the right, and he's seen guys...well. He sees more than he gets credit for.
Dust puffs into the air when Sidney sits down in the shadow of the overhang, long enough to hide a laundry cart maybe, or one of those big cleaning things the janitors use. He sneezes and falls down the rest of the way to the concrete floor, shivering a little when the cold seeps up through his track pants. He folds his legs underneath himself. His head throbs. The lights flicker, and he flinches, squeezing his eyes shut against the afterburn.
Sidney leans his head into the corner of the wall, and takes a slow breath in. His lungs tremble against a cough, but stay solid on his exhale, and Sidney lets his back fall against the wall in relief.
Practice was good. He went strong; he didn't push it like he could tell Dan wanted him to, but he...made it through. It's not all over yet. Might try a drill or two when he gets home. Maybe look at some tape.
Sidney licks his lips, and rubs his tongue over his teeth, letting the cold concrete leach heat from his body. His sweat sticks his hair to his face. He should shower. He should get up.
He forg--it's so loud in the arena. He can hear everything it feels like, almost...it's...he went to a concert and it was fine. He went outside and it was cool. He comes home and his head hurts. Where's the sense in that?
A step in the corridor makes him flinch, and he shoves himself deeper into his corner as the footsteps near him. There's no game today, who'd be bored enough to check out the opposition's territory?
Sidney crosses his arms over his chest, and ducks his chin into his neck. Streaks of pale purple light fly across his eyelids. He feels his mouth crumple at the edges, and frowns to stop them trembling. Fuck, he just wanted some fucking quiet and if they see him here--if anything stops his ice time he will--
Geno. Sidney's hands twitch against his sides. He swallows, and cracks one eye open.
Geno is standing between him and the corridor, backlit by the light panels bolted to the ceiling. Sidney shuts his eye again.
"Just gimme a minute," he says.
"You will get cramp," Geno says.
Sidney jerks his head, eyes flying open and immediately the lights throb red and purple and dullish grey and it hurts, and it's always like this now always just a stupid headache but--
"Just give me a second," he snaps, and Geno laughs, a short bark that makes Sidney want to smack his head back into the concrete until the sound will just stop and--and--and--that noise is not him. That high fucking whine is not from his throat, because he is an adult and--Geno's hand, dry and warm, rough at the edges, covers his eyes, pressing against the sides of his face.
Sidney holds himself still. He holds his breath in the sudden darkness, the warm pressure against his head, and waits while Geno settles against his side, sliding his knee beneath Sidney's. He lifts his hand and the lack of weight makes the throbbing in Sidney's head sharpen into daggers, slicing through his skull.
"Shh, shh," Geno says, and his hand is back, pressing tightly until even the afterimages flutter into specks of light at the edges of Sidney's vision.
His other arm wraps around Sidney's waist, pulls his body closer until Sidney is folded into Geno's side, and his arms are awkwardly mashed between them. Sidney's head drops to Geno's shoulder, and he winces. Fucking gravity, fucking...fuck, why can't he keep his...why can't he think?
He pulls away and Geno pulls back, tucking Sidney's face against the rise of his neck, and palming the nape of Sidney's neck. Sidney breaths in, tensing. Geno smells like laundry soap and body wash. He's...
"We wait five minute," Geno says. "Then I take you home."
Sidney lets his arms fall, one to Geno's lap and the other to grip the back of Geno's t-shirt. Geno's fingers squeeze his nape, rubbing in circles, and Sidney shudders.
"Okay?" Geno asks.
"Okay," Sidney whispers.